Other books exist that warn of the dangers of empire and war. However, few, if any, of these books do so from a scholarly, informed ecomic standpoint. In Depression, War, and Cold War , Robert Higgs, a highly regarded ecomic historian, makes pointed, fresh ecomic arguments against war, showing links between government policies and the ecomy in a clear, accessible way. He boldly questions, for instance, the widely accepted idea that World War II was the chief reason the Depression-era ecomy recovered. The book as a whole covers American ecomic history from the Great Depression through the Cold War. Part I centers on the Depression and World War II. It addresses the impact of government policies on the private sector, the effects of wartime procurement policies on the ecomy, and the ecomic consequences of the transition to a peacetime ecomy after the victorious end of the war. Part II focuses on the Cold War, particularly on the links between Congress and defense procurement, the level of profits made by defense contractors, and the role of public opinion andnt ideological rhetoric in the maintenance of defense expenditures over time. This new book extends and refines ideas of the earlier book with new interpretations, evidence, and statistical analysis. This book will reach a similar audience of students, researchers, and educated lay people in political ecomy and ecomic history in particular, and in the social sciences in general.
Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for the Independent Institute and author of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government.